Krísuvík volcano inflates and deflates regularly

It seems that Krísuvík volcano is inflating and deflating on regular basic. I do not know how regular this change is. But it has been noticed by Icelandic scientists how are bit puzzled by this behavior. Last inflation episode did last until end of the year 2011. Since then deflation did start again and is currently ongoing. It is uncertain if what this means. At the moment it is too early to know for sure if this means if that Krísuvík volcano is getting ready for an eruption. But if there was an eruption in Krísuvík volcano, it would be Hawaiian eruption so no volcano ash. Volcano ash eruption would only take place if an eruption started in Kleifarvatn lake. But the effects of that would be limited to local area (Reykjavík and other nearby towns). It would not create any global problems, as many would want to believe.

Inflation and deflation period have been the years 2009, from January to September. In May 2010 inflation did start again, that inflation period lasted until end of the year 2011. Since then deflation has been taking place. Today there is continues GPS monitoring in Krísuvík volcano. But it is unknown if this type of behavior has taken place before in Krísuvík volcano. But for now Krísuvík volcano is being monitored both with GPS and the SIL network. What happens next anyone guess.

Icelandic news about this.

Land rís og sígur í Krýsuvík (Rúv.is)

Grímsfjall volcano prepares for new eruption

It is clear that Grímsfjall volcano is an restless volcano. In the year 2011 it had the largest eruption for at least 140 years. But even so that does not stop the volcano from preparing new eruption sometimes soon. But I am now expecting an new eruption from Grímsfjall volcano in the next 12 to 48 months or so at the earliest. The preparing for eruption clues have already started to show. But that is an slow increase in earthquakes in Grímsfjall volcano. Something that has always been a clear indicator of that an eruption might not be far off, even if nobody knows when and how big next eruption is going to be. It has been documented that Grímsfjall volcano does sometimes have an eruption every once or two year when the activity is at highest. But since the year 1983 the eruptions in Grímsfjall volcano have been getting more frequent and larger, the largest one so far being last year.


The latest earthquake in Grímsfjall volcano. It has not been reviewed so it’s location might change. Copyright of this picture belongs to Iceland Meteorological Office.


GPS data from the past 6 months (I think). As can be seen not a lot of magma has been going into Grímsfjall volcano system since the large eruption that started 21.05.2011. So far the inflation has only been around 100 mm to date, but even so that is more then whole inflation of Eyjafjallajökull volcano in the year 2010. But that was only around 60 mm for comparison. Copyright of this picture belongs to Iceland Meteorological Office.

It is unclear what happens next in Grímsfjall volcano. But for us how watch volcanoes. This is going to mean a lot of waiting time until next eruption in Grímsfjall volcano.

Harmonic tremor pulse in Grímsfjall volcano

There have only been seven months since (May 2011) the last eruption in Grímsfjall volcano. But it seems that Grímsfjall volcano is getting ready for its next eruption. Even if the last eruption was the largest one for at least 140 years in Grímsfjall volcano. So far earthquake activity remains low in Grímfjall volcano. But I am not sure if that means anything for the moment. But there has been in earlier lead up to a eruption a build up of earthquake activity in Grímsfjall volcano.

Today at least two harmonic tremors spikes have been detected by IMO. But this type of harmonic tremor pulse have been detected before in Grímsfjall volcano. Older blog posts on that subject can be found here and here. But this time around it seems that the harmonic tremor is stronger then before. Currently it remains uncertain of there is a glacier flood starting from Grímsvötn lake, as was the case last time this type of harmonic tremor pulse was detected in Grímsfjall volcano.


Harmonic tremor in Grímsfjall volcano at 00:21 UTC on 5 December, 2011. Copyright to this picture belongs to Iceland Met Office.


The harmonic tremor in Grímsfjall volcano at 01:39 UTC on 5 December, 2011. Copyright to this picture belongs to Iceland Met Office.

There is a clear change in the harmonic tremor, as can be seen here. But why and what this actually means for Grímsfjall volcano I am not sure. But I am rather sure that this means a new eruption might only be several months away. But it is hard to know that for sure. But I am just base my estimate on earlier experience with Grímsfjall volcano. But it might not mean anything after last eruption.


The GPS data from top of Grímsfjall volcano. The data is missing for the last few days. Must be because of snow and ice. But given the last data set, the change so far it not that great since the eruption last spring. Copyright to this picture belongs to Iceland Met Office.

What happens next in Grímsfjall volcano is a big question. But it seems that Grímsfjall volcano is going to go for a new eruption. When that might happen I have no idea.

Update on the eruption in El Hierro volcano on 9 November, 2011

Short note on comments: This is a short notice on comments. This blog has been getting a spam flood for the past few days. During the past 2 days or so there have been over 300+ spam comments that my spam filter has captured. This makes it ever so hard to find real comments that go into the spam box by accident. If your comment disappears for no reason after it has been posted. Then the spam filter has captured it. Please do not re-post it, as then following comments are just going to go into the spam box too. I have to manually un-check them as spam and approve them. So if you post three comments with the same link, I am going to clear the three comments with the same link. But given the amount of spam that this blog is getting there is always a risk that comment is going to get lost and permanently deleted.

It is also important that if you get “comment is held for moderation” that you do not re-post what you are commenting on. As the comment is going to wait in the moderation until I clear it. I am not always around to check for this, so it might take few hours or more until I approve the comment/s.
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The eruption in El Hierro volcano is ongoing and does not appear to show any signs of ending. However the strength of the eruption has dropped a bit during the past two days. But this was to be expected, since this is a fissure eruption and it has mostly been erupting from the same vents during the past four weeks.

It has become a bit difficult to get accurate information on what is going on El Hierro Island. So I am not going to speculate on that. But from what I can gather it seems that dangerous gas level has been detected on the ground. But the reports that I am reading are bit unclear on this. This has also been mentioned in comments on this blog.


The harmonic tremor from the eruption in El Hierro volcano at 15:23 UTC on 9 November, 2011. Copyright of this picture belongs to IGN.

As can be seen on this tremor plot the harmonic tremor in the eruption is dropping. Explosions that have taken place are also clear on this tremor plot. That might be because the eruption vent is getting smaller, therefor less magma is being push out the erupting vent. Or the currently erupting vent might be closing up. As so often happens with fissure type eruptions. If that happens does not mean that this eruption cycle is over. It just means that the current eruption vent has closed up. New fissures are most likely to open up in coming weeks as the eruption goes on. Where and when it impossible to know for sure.

Earthquake activity continues in north part of El Hierro volcano. This are most likely dike intrusions into the bed rock there. So earthquake activity should be expected to continue north west of the town Frontera. If a dike intrusion manages to find a path to the surface in this area there is going to be a eruption and earthquake activity should drop following that. But until and if that happens there are going to be earthquakes. There is also chance of hydrothermal activity to show up in this area if a dike intrusion gets shallow into the bed rock. But is not go up from the ground and start a eruption. This might also be the reason why some part of El Hierro Island are experiencing high levels of toxic gas for the moment.

I am going to post more on the eruption in El Hierro volcano as I know more what is going on.

El Hierro volcano enters Surtsey eruption phase

This is a short blog post about latest events.
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Earlier tonight a Surtey eruption started in El Hierro volcano. Before this phase did start there has been increased harmonic tremor on seismometers that are located on El Hierro Island. Volcano ash is to be expected while water can still get into the crater. When the water does no longer get into the crater it is going to stop making volcano ash. The ash plume can go up to 3 to 10 km high, depending on the strength of the eruption. New vents have also been opening up south of town of La Restinga. That means the fissure is still growing, at least that was the case yesterday and earlier today from what I can gather. I am unsure of that has continued or stopped.

Earthquake activity still high north west of the town of Frontera. This suggests that fissure might open up there. But so far that has not happened. I do not think this are earthquakes due to tectonic stress changes due to the eruptions in south El Hierro volcano. But this stress changes are because of the magma injections at depth in El Hierro volcano.


Harmonic tremor from the eruption in El Hierr volcano. It now shows clear signs of explosions (strong ones) and increased eruption activity. Copyright of this picture belongs to Instituto Geográfico Nacional.

If new vents open up closer to the shore there is going to be instant Surtsey eruption activity. But that might only last for a short while the water gets into the crater. There the lava stage is reached much sooner then on the vents that are erupting on more depth at the moment.

I am going to post more updates on this. If I can get more details on what is going on.

Sources:

Renewed Eruptions at El Hierro in the Canary Islands (Eruption blogs)

I also want to thanks reader how email me about the current status of what is going on in El Hierro volcano. My Spanish is weak at the moment.

Short update on El Hierro volcano eruption

This is a short update on El Hierro volcano eruption. As the situation is changing fast this past few hours.

It seems that the eruption in El Hierro volcano is gaining strength and power. The harmonic tremor on the seismomter that is on the El Hierro Island it self has started to get saturated again. It also have been unconfirmed reports of the south fissure growing in size. But so far nothing has happened in the north part of El Hierro volcano. Even if there have been many earthquakes in that area. But this area fell suspicious silent this morning. So something might be up in that area. Update 1: A string of earthquakes happened around 12:00 UTC in this area. Suggesting that something is still up there.


The harmonic tremor at 13:52 UTC. Notice how the tremor has started to saturate the seismometer. Copyright of this picture belongs to Instituto Geográfico Nacional.

What happens next is anyone guess. But people need to be aware that fissure eruptions are sometimes long in terms of the length of the fissure. But that phase normally does not last long, as soon the eruption is going to isolate it self into few craters on the fissure. I also recommend that people read Erik Klemetti blog post about El Hierro from yesterday. If you haven’t already done so.

Increased eruption activity in El Hierro volcano

I was going to post this yesterday. But I fell a sleep at 17:00 UTC and I didn’t wake up until 03:00 UTC.
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The eruption in El Hierro volcano continues as it has been doing for past few weeks with little change. The first eruption vent that did open south of El Hierro Island has continued to erupt. But so far no Island has formed and it is unclear if it is going to form, as the depth is great in this area. Since yesterday around 06:00 UTC the harmonic tremor has been increasing. But this suggests that new vents have opened up in the south eruption area. I got some pictures of that yesterday in the email. But they did not show anything new in my view. Thanks to the readers how did send me those pictures.

The current fluctuation in the harmonic tremor from El Hierro suggests that magma is on the move in the north part of El Hierro Island. Both off the coast and maybe inland on the Island where earthquakes have been taking place. It is impossible to know how this is going to develop during the next few hours to days. As that depends on the rock structure of El Hierro Island and earlier eruptions.

Earthquake activity

During the past two weeks the earthquake activity have been growing in the North-west part of El Hierro Island. The reason why this is happening is that a new fissure is about to open in this area. As I have mentioned before in earlier blog posts. When and where is impossible to know for sure. The largest earthquake so far took place this morning, it size was ML4.0 with the depth of 20 km. But this is the automatic data from IGN. This pattern of earthquake activity is most likely going to continue during this eruption process in El Hierro volcano. Since the eruption type here is a fissure eruption.

It is worth noting that earthquakes in once place does not mean that the eruption is going to happen in that place. As the magma can travel in dikes all over the El Hierro Island and show it self anywhere on the Island it self. So the general risk is high in my opinion. The only action that can be taken is to be prepared for sudden eruption of new vents on El Hierro Island. Since there is a good amount of magma on the move inside El Hierro volcano.


The harmonic tremor in El Hierro at 08:54 UTC (when picture is saved). The spikes are earthquakes, and harmonic tremor spikes are the “waves” in the harmonic tremor pattern. Copyright of this picture belongs to Instituto Geográfico Nacional.

Update 1:

* When I wrote this blog post. This two earthquakes took place.

1109584 02/11/2011 08:37:11 27.9267 -18.1084 3 1.7 mbLg NW FRONTERA.IHI
1109582 02/11/2011 08:36:00 27.5986 -17.9594 1 1.9 mbLg S EL PINAR.IHI

This are the most shallow earthquakes that I have seen so far. From the depth it is possible a magma has found a clean path to surface in this two areas. Sadly there is no map. So I am not sure where this earthquakes took place in El Hierro volcano.

Update 1b: The earthquake have been revised. Now the depth is 9 km for the ML1.7 and 22km for the ML1.9.

The shallow earthquake.

1109584 02/11/2011 08:37:11 27.9304 -18.1107 9 1.7 mbLg NW FRONTERA.IHI [+]

I am going to post more information when I know more on what is taking place in El Hierro.

Blog post updated at 11:24 UTC on 2 November, 2011

Special report: Rift zone eruption continues at El Hierro volcano

This is going to be a short blog post about what is going on in El Hierro. But I have a longer blog post planned for tomorrow.

The current eruption in El Hierro volcano is a fissure eruption. As such a new eruption vent can be expected for the time while magma continues to be injected into El Hierro volcano from depth (28+ km). When a new fissure starts to open it is pre-seeded by a swarm of earthquakes. Lack of this knowledge, or some type of ignorance about this fact has me worried that a eruption. As there is a real risk of eruption happening close to a populated area in El Hierro. It is also a fact that a new fissure can open up extremely fast and with no warning at all. Since when the magma reaches the surface there is no guarantee that the fissure is going to open up with a swarm of earthquakes. In most cases that I know about, the eruption fissure opens up with no earthquakes at all and with no earthquakes. The only earthquakes that take place is when the magma is breaking a path up to the surface.


Earthquakes during the last 10 days in El Hierro volcano. The new magma injection appears clearly with earthquakes ion this map. Copyright of this picture belongs to Instituto Geográfico Nacional.


All earthquakes in El Hierro volcano since July. The new magma injection appears clearly on this map. Copyright of this picture belongs to Instituto Geográfico Nacional.

At this moment it is unclear if the new magma injection has got into contact with the magma that started to inject under El Hierro volcano in July 2011. If that happens the two magma injections are going to merge. But what happens after that is unknown to me. As I have never seen that type of process happen before.

When the El Hierro island is viewed from above it is clear that there are eruption periods where the El Hierro Island is covered with eruption cones in fissure eruptions. It is close to impossible to know if that this the case now or not. But I fear that it might be the case, as it has been long time since El Hierro erupted last time and the Island grows in fissure eruption jumps that take some time to pass over. One such eruption period jump appears to have started on 10 October, 2011. How long it is going to last depends on how large it is going to be. But this is going to last more then few weeks. But there are going to be breaks in between eruption episodes in El Hierro.


The harmonic tremor in El Hierro just before midnight of 28 October, 2011. The spikes are earthquakes N to NW of El Hierro Island. Copyright of this picture belongs to Instituto Geográfico Nacional.

There has been some drop in harmonic tremors from the first (and only?) eruption vent just outside the coast of El Hierro. This means that it might be closing up. But that is normal for this type of eruption. When this eruption vent closes up or just before it closes up. A new eruption vent is going to open up at new location. As the magma inside El Hierro volcano supports that in my opinion. When and where is the unknown factor in this equation.

As for the question on how long this eruption period could last. I am hoping that it is going to be over when I move to Canary Islands (maybe El Hierro Island) in about 4 to 10 years time (at the latest). But this type of eruption take a long time to finish. So covering this eruption(s) is going to be ongoing for some time now.

Special report: New magma intrusion into El Hierro volcano, Canary Islands, Spain

Few days ago a new magma intrusion did start in El Hierro volcano, Canary Islands, Spain. But this means that the pressure is increasing inside El Hierro current magma still. The new magma is going the same path as before, and is forming a new sill north-west part of El Hierro volcano. It seems that this magma has not yet encountered the magma that is already inside El Hierro volcano. What happens when the new magma encounters the slightly older magma is a open question. But I am sure what happens is going to be interesting and is going to create a new eruption vent in my opinion.


The new magma intrusion in El Hierro. It is not yet in contact with the existing magma in El Hierro. It is hard to know exactly what happens when the new magma gets into contact with the magma that is already in El Hierro. Copyright of this picture belongs to Instituto Geográfico Nacional.

What is really interesting about this new magma is that this seems to be a new intrusion from a new conduct below El Hierro. This conduct does not appear in the earthquakes that started in July 2011 to today. There is a great risk that more new conducts are going to open up under El Hierro in this same manner. But this means that new magma can start to flow into El Hierro at new point under El Hierro. But that is always marked by a increase in earthquake activity where a new magma intrusion starts in El Hierro. This new magma intrusion into El Hierro appears to be rather small at the moment. But it is most likely going to grow over the next few weeks.


Current harmonic tremor levels in El Hierro volcano. Given by the current harmonic tremor level this eruption remains small. But the harmonic tremor is poorly to not being detected on nearby Canary Islands. The spike in the tremor plot is a earthquake. Copyright of this picture belongs to Instituto Geográfico Nacional.

It seems that IGN did rescale the tremor plot in the early beginning of the eruption. Making me draw false conclusions on what was going on in El Hierro. But it seems that the eruption is stable and has been from the beginning. But so far this is a small eruption, based on the tremor data. I say it is small because the harmonic tremor is not detected about ~60 km away from El Hierro. As a example in the eruption of Grímsfjall volcano, the harmonic tremor was detected clearly up to ~200 km away from the eruption. But the harmonic tremor signals how much magma is moving inside a volcano up to the surface. But not how explosive the eruption is. But explosions can and are detected on seismometers when a eruption goes explosive.

If anything major happens in El Hierro. I am going to update this blog post.

Special report: Update 6 on the eruption in El Hierro, Canary Islands, Spain

Special note: Please notice that my (personal) watching system is also going to include the mainland of Spain (mainland Spain has two volcanoes that I am aware of, along with some earthquake activity) when I change it next month, along with Canary Islands. Everything else is also going to be a subject to a special reports if the event is important enough. That is not always going to be case however. But I am going to post more details on this in the beginning of next month.
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Little seems to have changed in the eruption of El Hierro since my last update on it. That was on 19 October, 2011. Harmonic tremor is constant, but appears to have dropped a little in the past few days. But with the fluctuation that is often increases again before it drops down again. This means that the eruption is ongoing, but is loosing power to continue at current eruption vent. This was not unexpected. This has however not slowed down inflation in El Hierro from what I can gather on GPS data on El Hierro.

As the current eruption vents close down it seems that earthquakes have started again under El Hierro. But the earthquakes have the depth from 28 km and up to around 5 km. This strongly suggests that new magma is entering under El Hierro and is again increasing the pressure inside the El Hierro magma sill (or chamber, but note that El Hierro does not have a stable magma chamber it seems). This increases earthquakes while the magma does not have any good path up to the surface. When a new path for the magma starts to form again, a large earthquake swarm is going to take place in El Hierro. It is not going to be anything bigger then already has taken place in El Hierro already. With the largest earthquakes going up to Mb5.0 in size. That is at least my opinion.


All the earthquakes that have happened in El Hierro since magma intrusions started in July 2011. This pictures clearly shows in my view the amount of magma (in terms of size, not volume) that is under El Hierro at the moment. As it is marked on the outer layers by the earthquakes. Copyright of this picture belongs to Instituto Geográfico Nacional.


The harmonic tremor in El Hierro at midnight on 21 October, 2011. As can be seen, it fluctuates a little bit. Copyright of this picture belongs to Instituto Geográfico Nacional.

The major risk in the current eruption cycle of El Hierro is the risk that new eruption vent is going to open up nearby a human population without warning. But El Hierro has a lot of cinder cones from earlier eruption cycles. That creates the risk that a new eruption vent is going to open up on dry land without warning. But it is impossible to know when and where that might happen.

Claims that this eruption in El Hierro is going to create tsunami due to landslides are false and have no basic in fact or reality. As landslides are unlikely to happen in this eruption episode or if a eruption happens on dry land.